(RepublicanInformer.com)- The wildfires in California in 2020 were bad, but some experts think that they could be even worse this year.
Cue the uproar about climate change…
A researcher from San José State University’s Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center in Northern California tweeted last April, “wow, never seen April fuels look so…dry.”
The lack of rain this season has severely impacted our chaparral live fuel moistures. Wow, never seen April fuels look so… dry. No new growth anywhere in this Chamise. April is climatologically the highest live FMC of the season. Very Scary! #CAwx #firedanger pic.twitter.com/clJ92b3DiX
— SJSU FireWeatherLab (@FireWeatherLab) April 3, 2021
The tweet was made while researchers were surveying the land at sites where they discovered zero new green growth. It was what led to the massive fires across the state, which took the lives of many, destroyed homes and businesses, and managed to dominate the headlines even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And this year, a researcher from the San Jose State University’s Fire Weather Research Laboratory said that the level of moisture in plant life in the region, which should be at its peak in April – right before the growing season – is well below both the annual average and even previous record lows.
It means that the fuel on the ground is even dryer than it was last year. “Fire season 2021 is looking grim,” the center announced on Twitter.
Fire season 2021 is looking grim. Our region's FMCs are tracking lower than the minimum– a new record low. This is caused by the lack/delay of new growth. Average is 137%, low is 115%, 2021= 97% #wildfire #CAwx @wildfirecenter pic.twitter.com/u7ekJ2phjv
— SJSU FireWeatherLab (@FireWeatherLab) April 5, 2021
Craig Clements, a professor from the university, said that “fire danger is a function of not only the weather, but the condition of the fuels – and the most important thing about the fuels is their moisture content.”
Clements and a team of researchers travel for two weeks of the spring every year to the same three sites through the Santa Cruz mountains, taking scrub clippings and samples to measure moisture.
The professor told the media that while some sites have new growth – thankfully – it’s “still not what we expect in a normal year.”
He added that the problem is directly related to drought.
“No rain, or low precipitation, equals drier-than-average fuel moistures.”
So what does it mean?
Well, it points to the West Coast experiencing wildfires even bigger than the last.
Last year, more than 10,000 wildfires hit the state. It affected over four million acres of land, which was completely burned, and it even spread across neighboring state Oregon. Last year, a total of 10.2 million acres of land on the West Coast was hit by fires and at least 37 people were killed.
The catastrophic $19.8 billion in damages was even significantly higher than the riots from Black Lives Matter activists.
It just begs the question…does Governor Gavin Newsom have any plans to prepare the state for the fires, or is he just going to tweet some more about climate change?